Commentary by Bruce Calabrese
Besides our great people, one of Carmel’s finest assets is our public schools. People and companies move to Carmel for our schools. The voters of Carmel have recognized the value of our schools by overwhelmingly supporting Carmel Clay Schools’ referendums. On Nov. 6, there is an election for three seats on the CCS school board. That election affects our schools and our property values.
We ask our public schools to educate all our children. Carmel Clay Schools are recognized not only for their championship sports teams, but also for the number of merit scholars, performing arts, DECA and many other great programs and clubs that win state and national awards. Carmel’s special education programming is admired by districts across Indiana. And while CCS has been in the news a few times this last year for some not-so-positive reasons, there is nothing broken with our schools.
Our Carmel public schools create opportunities for all our students to be ready to advance to their next opportunity, whatever that may be. We have students who go to Ivy League schools, state universities, technical programs or straight into the workforce. They become architects, doctors, engineers, police officers, lawyers and teachers. CHS graduates are television and radio personalities, actors, professional athletes and a current U.S. Senator. Our schools expose our students to a multitude of choices. Other school districts strive to be like Carmel.
It is easy to complain about one issue or decision and then decide to run for school board, but it is much harder to set the direction of our schools by providing vision and leadership. As a former school board member and president, I know that school board members need to be objective, forward thinking and able to represent all the stakeholders for what is in the best interest of our public schools. I also know that certain decisions the board must make are based upon information that cannot be shared with the public.
The school board sets the tone of the district by hiring and working with the superintendent, setting policies and approving certain financial decisions. The CCS superintendent is the CEO of an educational entity with an annual operating budget of $100 million with more than 16,500 students, 2,400 employees, 11 elementary schools, three middle schools, the high school and two maintenance facilities. The school board is the district’s board of directors. We do not want board members who run for just one issue or the stories that make the news. We want the CCS board to be made up of members with different skills that work together as a team to do what is best for every student. Change is hard. We ask our schools to prepare our students for jobs that do not even exist today. Our schools excel in all aspects because we have great teachers, students, parents, administrators and taxpayers that value public education. Our board members must represent all in our community and make decisions that are best for all our students.
I ask that you educate yourself on the candidates, know why they are running and take time to vote for school board on Nov. 6.
Bruce Calabrese is a business owner and former Carmel Clay Schools board of trustees member.